Saturday, November 22, 2014

Anglican Priest, Wife Serve Poor Community in Ciudad Juárez

“I was born the tenth of ten children, into a very poor family, rich in their faith. From the time I was very young, I knew I wanted to be a priest. When I finished my studies, I knew I wanted to be poor and that I wanted to serve the poor. So I asked myself, ‘Who are the poorest of all in Mexico?’ ‘The indigenous!’ I answered, so I went to serve Christ there. After a while I told myself, ‘There must be people poorer than these. Who is poorer than the indigenous?” ‘Ah, the campesinos, the field workers,’ I answered. So I went, to serve Christ there. After a while, I told myself, ‘There must be people poorer than the fieldworkers. Who are they?’ ‘The imprisoned,’ I answered. So I went there. After another long while, I told myself, ‘Surely there must be someone poorer than these, even poorer than these who have lost their liberty?’ ‘The mentally ill,’ I answered, ‘They are even poorer.’ So I went there. Then, after a while, I told myself, 'Surely there must be someone poorer than even these people.’ And God sent me to Anapra.”  -Father Miguel Ángel Ramirez, the Anglican priest at San José de Anapra Mission in Ciudad Juárez

Drawing from parish child
By Victoria Tester
Anapra, one of the Juarez’s more populous neighborhoods, began about 30 ago with the majority of its inhabitants coming from the central and southern part of Mexico, many with a frustrated hope of migrating to the United States, or as recruits for the maquiladora industry. Only during the past two years has there been any public utilities, though many still go without. Anapra is a neighbor to the Lomas de Poleo neighborhood where many women who are victims of drug trafficking have been buried. Problems faced by residents are poor housing conditions,overpopulation, street children, early sexual activity, clandestine commerce, gangs and drug trafficking. There are currently an estimated 25,000 inhabitants in Anapra, the majority who are young people and children with an unclear future.

The work of Father Miguel  Ángel and his wife Catherine Hudak serves the general population as well as those who regularly attend their religious services. Their goal is to strengthen their efforts in the vital areas of health, recreation and child nutrition. What are their hopes for the community? To build a dispensary in order to offer alternative medical services such as reflexology and natural herbal remedies. To create a recreational center with spaces for sporting activities and where their neighbors from Anapra can rest and relax. To create a dining hall for the children, where they are offered nutritious food six days a week.

They are in real need of funding. Their plan is to begin with the building of the natural herbal dispensary and a greenhouse, in order to become self-sustaining. Please contact them for more detailed information.

Drawing from parish child
The Sunday offering at San José de Anapra averages only $7 or $8. Father Miguel Angel receives no salary. San José de Anapra is a parish in the Diocese of the North of Mexico and forms part of the Mexican Anglican Church, which has been an autonomous province in the Anglican Communion since 1995.

Father Miguel Ángel, a former Roman Catholic priest and Jesuit, a highly educated man who later taught law to future priests, and who holds a degree in herbal medicine, was accepted as a priest into the Mexican Anglican Church in May 2012 and assigned the pastorship and administration of San  de José Anapra.

Catherine Hudak, a former Maryknoll Lay Missioner for almost a decade, has also acted as the program coordinator for Borderlinks, Inc., a bi-national nonprofit out of Tucson, AZ, and Nogales Sonora, coordinating immersion trips for groups wanting to learn about the border. Until very recently she was the executive director and then development director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, a position she left in order to devote more time to her husband of eleven years, Father Miguel Angel, and their Mission at San José de Anapra.

Visitors to the San José de Anapra Mission are deeply welcome. Feel free to contact San  de José Anapra Mission, which is in need of your ministerial support. San José  de Anapra Mission can be reached in Spanish or English by U.S. telephone at: 720-401-8195 or by email in Spanish or in English at: or

(Victoria Tester is the coordinator of the San Isidro Bean Project and a novice in the Third Order Society of St. Francis.)  

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